The Basic Meeting List Toolbox

Is Your Server Set Up Correctly?

Here are some basic tips for making sure that your Web service is sufficient to the needs of the BMLT.

First, Determine Your Goal

Will you be setting up the central (“root”) server, or has your Region (or another Region) already set one up, and you will be connecting to theirs (We call this a “satellite” server)?

In Either Case

The BMLT has been designed to run on what is referred to as a “LAMP” (Linux Apache MySQL PHP) system. This is a very, very common, low cost system. Most hosting companies provide LAMP systems to their customers, and the vast majority of open source systems require LAMP.

Just to be clear: You don’t need SQL if you are installing a “satellite” implementation (this means that you are not running the main database).

In reality, some flexibility may be possible, but the key components are PHP, and, if you are installing a root server, any SQL server that is supported by the PDO PHP database abstraction extension (MySQL is the most common server).

NOTE: As of Version 2.0.3, only MySQL is supported! The lack of support for other databases is considered a bug, and we will fix it soon.

For a Root Server

If you are setting up the central server (usually done by a Regional Service Body), then you will need to make sure that the version of PHP is 5.2 or greater.

You will also need to make sure that PDO is installed, as well as the PDO driver for your database (very often, the driver for MySQL is not installed in default LAMP installs. It is very easy and safe to install, and most Internet providers will have no problem installing it if they don’t already have it. Make sure you can get it. Lack of a PDO driver for your database is a dealbreaker).

A root server is a completely standalone Web site. You won’t need to install any content management systems or special packages. It comes with everything you need.

For a Satellite

Satellites don’t require so much. No SQL server is necessary, and the PHP can be version 5.0 or above.

Is Your Web Site Using a Content management System?

If you are running a site based on one of the “Big Three” content management systems (CMS); which are Joomla!, WordPress and Drupal, then adding a satellite will be very easy. If you have written your own site “from scratch,” then you can also add a satellite quite easily. We’ll cover exactly how, later.

Find Out About Your Server

The easiest way to find out if your server has the proper configuration is to run a phpinfo() command. Usually, the Internet Service Provider (ISP) will have one they can show you. If they do not, you can easily create one by creating a PHP file with nothing in it but <?php phpinfo() ?>. It’s generally a good idea to get rid of the file once the use is over, as it can be used by hackers to determine vulnerabilities of your site.

When you run this file, it will dump a big long page, with information about your PHP installation. We’ll go over some of the parts we need. Most of these are installed by default.

PHP Version HeaderThe PHP Version is Displayed at the Top of the Page

cURL
SimpleXML

It Should Have Both cURL and SimpleXML Installed (Default Installs)

PDO and MySQL

The Root Server Needs PDO and the Appropriate Driver Installed (MySQL Driver Shown). This is not necessary for satellite installations.

NOTE: As of version 2.0.3, non-MySQL databases (like Postgres) don’t work. This is considered a bug, and will be fixed, eventually. There’s been no call at all for non-MySQL databases, so it isn’t a priority.